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Danandfreda

Main power cord tripping breaker

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I have a mobile suites rssb3 2011 and for the last 3 days the recepticle in the garage is tripping the gfci. Never did it before. I reset last night and it was fine till I got home from work and had the fireplace and a small ceramic heater on 23 amps on the digital readout. Stayed on for about an hour then tripped. So I thought might be because of the gfci so I plugged it in to an inside plug and it stayed on but the readout  read 2.4. Amps. I don’t know if the decimals are some kind of code? Then the in gfci breaker popped. I checked the batteries and the plates look like they have a crust on them I added distilled water to them last night and they already looked like that. The water was low but not to the plates. Tonight I noticed that there was a white wire that I missed when putting the batteries back in early dec. don’t know what it went to but it was one of the bigger white ones. So I hooked it up and the lights were a lot brighter but still tripped breaker. I took batteries out taped up all wires so nothing touches and plugged in breaker still popped. Batteries are 1 year old Trojan t-105 motive. Need suggestions thanks

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What type of receptacle are you plugged into?  It sounds like a standard 15 amp (or possibly 20 amp) garage GFCI outlet?  If so, then at 23 amps you are trying to pull too many amps through the outlet and that is why it is tripping.  When plugged into a standard outlet like that, you need to be very conservative on the power usage in the rig.  Set the refrigerator and water heater to propane instead of electricity for starters.  Electric heaters are high draw power users also.  You would be better off using your forced air propane heater in the rig instead. 

Your batteries will have nothing to do with tripping a 120 volt outlet.  The batteries are part of the 12 volt system and the shore power cord is part of the 120 volt system.  The only place where the two systems interact is the battery charger powered by 120 volts charging the 12 volt batteries (in a standard set up).

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Whatever you do replace the breaker too, as once they've tripped a lot they can be so weak they will trip with normal loads. Get a circuit tester if you are plugging into a normal 15 or 20 Amp receptacle. One of these cost very little and can help pinpoint a wiring problem. https://www.harborfreight.com/electrical-receptacle-tester-with-gfci-diagnosis-63929.html?cid=paid_bing||All+Products|63929&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&mkwid=ROYldmlw|pcrid||pkw||pmt|be|pdv|c|slid||product|63929|pgrid||ptaid||&pgrid=1170980177767647&ptaid=pla-4576785874942156&pcid=368003297&msclkid=94edc16f8978102311ee9f5eece5ba8b

Or pay $9.99 plus shipping for a name brand here: https://www.tequipment.net/Triplett/ET100/Receptacle-Testers/?rrec=true

But whatever is causing it to trip must be found and fixed first.

 

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Ok I think I may have found the cause and it was a dump mistake. When we built the house I had it in my head the we put in 30 amp in the garage. after checking this morning it is only 20 amp breaker with the 30 amp plug.so I reset gfci this morning and it stayed reset, And with only the fireplace and small heater on it was 22-23 amps this but it didn’t trip gfci. I turned heater off as soon as I saw that and it dropped to 10 amps and the fireplace put out more heat like it had its normal power. I probably weaker and heated up the circuit by resetting. Now with no batteries in and nothing on but one heater everything is normal including the 12 volt lights. Thanks for your time Chad and rv. Seems like the simplest things get overlooked. 

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I don't really understand the problem you are having, but it sounds like you may not understand electric issues. The first thing is to realize that a GFCI outlet does not offer any purposeful type of overcurrent, nor overload protection.. It trips on a current imbalance between the hot & neutral legs of the circuit. If you have a ground fault circuit breaker, those do serve both functions.

As Chad said, your RV's batteries play no part in the operation of the circuit breakers but it they are discharged the converter or inverter that you have may be recharging them and that would increase the total current drawn from your shore power supply. You didn't say where you got the 23a and the 2.4a readings?? What device are you using to read current load? 

1 hour ago, Danandfreda said:

And with only the fireplace and small heater on it was 22-23 amps this but it didn’t trip gfci.

No 20a circuit breaker should supply a constant load of more than 20a if connected and working properly. You may have a dangerous situation and should have things checked by an electrician. 

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Dan& Freda, it sounds like there may be some confusion here and a few issues need addressed so here goes:

1) A GFCI (Ground fault circuit interrupter, maybe what's in the garage and you're plugged to ???) does NOT serve the same purpose as the branch circuit overcurrent protection circuit breaker in your distribution panel.

  a) The GFCI is a safety device that will trip and open if there's as little as 5 to 6 milliamps (0.005 amps) of fault current leakage IE current that's flowing OUT the Hot but NOT being returned via the Neutral but instead a fault path. They do go bad and if so need replaced PLUS I have seen a ton of RV's that will cause even a good one to trip due to dirt or moisture or a faulty appliance. Sometimes even a fairly new RV will trip a GFCI or an older one with dust or moisture especially in an external receptacle orrrrrrrrrrrrrr I have seen several big box store GFCI's that fail even if not very old. I advise you to  REPLACE ONE THATS SUSPECT and use a spec quality unit 

NOTE  high current draw DOES NOT trip the GFCI, its leaking fault current (over 0.006 amps) that does...…...

NOTE its NOT a ground fault that trips the standard in panel Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker, its excess current over its rating 

  b) A standard inside the panel Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker is NOT any Ground Fault detection or protection device but instead one that trips on the thermal if long term residual current flows AT OR NEAR THE RATING for an extended time period orrrrrrrrrrr magnetically if there's a very high current flow due to say a short.

NOTE a 20 amp thermal magnetic circuit breaker "can" (subject to design and age and quality) trip if you draw much over 20 amps even for a relative short time, while it could theoretically trip at even say 19 or so amps over a longggggggggg time period. The "Thermal" function does that, it gradually heats up.   YOU CANT EXPECT TO DRAW A FULL 20 AMPS A LONNGGGGGGGGGGG  TIME OR A LOT OVER 20 AMPS SHORT TERM and a 20 amp breaker NOT eventually trip.   That's their job while a GFCI has a different job as described above.   Again, the design and age and quality can affect this. This may or may not be the exact same for any and all thermal magnetic circuit breakers... When I was a power distribution design engineer I didn't design for over 16 amps of continuous current draw on a 20 amp branch circuit, NEVER designed for continuous long term 20 amps of current flow on a 20 amp breaker knowing such could over enough time cause a trip due to the Thermal function.    A constant 20 amps is NOTTTTT a good design for a 20 amp branch circuit, while 16 or under is AT LEAST THATS HOW IT AND THE NEC WAS WAYYYYYYYYYYYY BACK WHEN I PRACTICED

NOTE Your battery condition and state of charge CAN AFFECT AND POSSIBLY CAUSE A CIRCUIT BREAKER TO TRIP THAT WOULDNT OTHERWISE, here's why: If your batteries are discharged your onboard Converter/Charger (subject to its design and rating)  will draw many more amps then if your batteries were at 100% SOC. For example if my batteries are low my Charger might draw 10 or more amps while if they are charged it may drop to only a few amps. THATS HOW AND WHY THE SOC OF YOUR BATTERIES AFFECTS THE CURRENT DRAWN BY THE RV OUT OF THE RECEPTACLE assuming you're using a battery charger .

NOTE Im NOT surprised that 22 amp current draw did not trip a good GFCI but I would  be surprised if a good quality working 20 amp Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker didn't trip over a long enough time period   IT SHOULD IN MY OPINION !!!!!

BOTTOM LINE            If there's as little as 0.005 to 0.006 amps of leaking RV system fault current (can happen) a good GFCI will trip,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,A faulty GFCI may trip even if that's not the case and if so needs replaced,,,,,,,,,,,If you draw near or over 20 amps for very long a good panelboard Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker can eventually trip THATS ITS JOB  

  Hope this helps, post back any questions NOTE No Warranty this is how things were yearsssssssss ago when I practiced but things and circuit breaker design and theory and quality change so this may be wrong. Yearssssssss ago a 20 amp Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker would NOT be used to supply a full constant continuous 20 amp load but maybe they have new and improved designs nowadays ???? Or maybe no longer make Thermal Magnetic Breakers ???? Consult the NEC and trained current practicing professional electricians and electrical engineers and DO NOT rely on me, I'm old and outdated lol  

Best wishes and God Bless, KEEP SAFE

John T

 

 

Edited by oldjohnt

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Thanks Kirk and oldjohn, the amp reading was taken off the control panel in the rv. I realize the gfci doesn’t trip because of load but thought the batteries could have a short but then found one of the overlooked white(negative) wires wasn’t hooked to batteries. I think the reason I tripped the regular house breaker was the fireplace on the charger kicking on and drawing more amps am me not being there to see it happen. This morning I went out with no batteries and fire place off and ceramic heater off and amp reading was 0 in rv fireplace drew 10 amps and all lights worked fine. I think gfci is needing replaced, and I was just drawing to many amps for too long. Going to have batteries looked at after work. Thanks

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53 minutes ago, Danandfreda said:

I think gfci is needing replaced, and I was just drawing to many amps for too long. Going to have batteries looked at after work. Thanks

You're welcome, thanks for the feedback. Indeed any faulty or excess nuisance tripping GFCI should be replaced and consider purchasing a higher quality spec grade from an electric supply house versus a cheap Big Box Store. Indeed an electric fireplace and a Converter/Charger cycling, especially if batteries were low, might have exceeded the time and current threshold of a Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker causing it to trip (as it should). A battery short or a dead cell or other problems (even extreme low SOC) might cause a Converter/Charger to draw fairly high current based on its design and rating. Many shops will perform a Load and other battery checks for free, sounds like a good plan.

Best wishes

John T

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Ok here’s what I believe happened. 1 I shouldn’t have assumed that when  we built the house that we put 30 amp breakers in garage 9 years ago I should have checked. 2 I missed a wire hooking up the batteries in December and it had something to do with charger because batteries were completely dead. And 3 not turning heater and fireplace off when I reset breaker. And 4 got to far ahead of myself thinking something was wrong and how to get it fixed before we start fultimimg Sunday. Thanks for all your help. Btw when I had batteries hooked up the charger pulled 6 amps alone 3 hours later it’s down to 3. Hopefully all is good now

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Dan, Thanks again for more updates. If your batteries were as you reported "completely dead" that's hard on batteries PLUS it may eventually cause your charger (subject to design and rating) to draw fairly high input current perhaps contributing to your breaker tripping ??

Hopefully, you insured the electrolyte levels in each and everyone of your battery's cells are at the proper level.  If so and they recover and eventually achieve 100% SOC YOU MAY BE FINE. A fully charged lead acid 12 volt battery at rest and stabilized should read around 12.6 volts. While connected to a good working charger I would expect battery voltage to rise to at least 13 up to 14+ subject to battery condition and charger. If there's still a problem have them load tested to be safe before you head out.

 If your garage receptacle is old and worn or problematic and regardless if its on a 15 or 20 amp branch circuit, I would replace it it with a new 20 amp rated unit. For long term frequent RV use consider installing a 30 (or 50 ) Amp 120 Volt permanent RV receptacle in your garage or elsewhere.

 You got this

John T

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Thanks John I took the batteries to have them checked yesterday and they said we’re just low water was actually a little high. Replaced gfci this morning. It’s prob 9 years old. This morning it was only drawing 1 amp and I checked voltage with and with out ac power and it was what you said. Looking. Back when we built I should have just put in a50 amp and been done. 

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11 hours ago, Danandfreda said:

Btw when I had batteries hooked up the charger pulled 6 amps alone 3 hours later it’s down to 3. Hopefully all is good now

That is pretty normal. Keep in mind that the 120V alternating current is lowered to 12V of direct current and the ratio between voltage and current remains the same (less a small loss) so the 6 a at 120V is supplying nearly 60 a at 12 V.  Regarding the explanation of what you believe happened, I think that you really do not understand how electricity works but that you probably do not have a serious problem in your power supply. I hope that you will get qualified help before you do any modifications of your home's electrical system. One of the greatest causes of home fires is armature electrical modifications. 

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30 minutes ago, Danandfreda said:

Thanks John I took the batteries to have them checked yesterday and they said we’re just low water was actually a little high. Replaced gfci this morning. It’s prob 9 years old. This morning it was only drawing 1 amp and I checked voltage with and with out ac power and it was what you said.

You're welcome. Subject to your Charger, typically once the batteries approach full charge the charge rate slows down to a lower maintenance/float/trickle level. Remember those DC Battery voltages I quoted of 12.6 volts representing full charge was AT REST AND STABILIZED while the 13 to 14 volt level was when connected to a charger. A battery has a normal voltage Sag when under a load and a voltage Rise when connected to a charger. I'm unsure if some of the current figures you quoted were for your 120 VAC RV input or DC battery charging current but it sounds like you're getting there.

Congratulations and best wishes

John T

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Yes John the 12.6 was at rest no ac power to it. And nothing at all on in rv , thanks for your advise. 
kirk I never said anything about modifications to our home. We built and wired our home. 9 years ago (. 5000 sq ft concrete exterior wall house) and had every inspection done and passed and I would bet the rules and codes here in central Illinois are as strict or more strict than a lot of places. There is no problem with the power supply, if there was a short in the house it would trip gfci all the time. 

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3 hours ago, Danandfreda said:

I never said anything about modifications to our home.

That is good. After a 40 year career in electrical service work I am always concerned about safety ahead of other things. 

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7 hours ago, Danandfreda said:

Yes John the 12.6 was at rest no ac power to it. And nothing at all on in rv , thanks for your advise. 

Great, a reading of 12.6 volts under those conditions is indicative of a full charge and you're sure welcome

FYI but I bet you already know this, a GFCI "receptacle" only senses the current (Line, Neutral, potential Fault) that pass through its coil but not ahead of it. Some use instead a GFCI "circuit breaker" in the panelboard and nowadays Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters AFCI are required.

You're really getting on top of this !!!!!!!

John T

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